Ballymena Ladies 1st XI (4) v (1) CI Ladies 1st XI
Saturday 18th February
Senior League 1
Following their win in the away fixture of this match up, Ballymena expected a tough game with CI and early pressure brought a penalty corner for the visitors, which was easily defended.
The opening goal did come from another penalty corner, but this time a Catherine McCracken strike took a deflection high into the roof of the net for a 1-0 lead to the home side.
CI struggled to get on terms with Ballymena’s quick play and before long Rebekah Reynolds made it 2-0 after rounding the keeper and striking the ball home on the reverse.
Further penalty corners from CI were strongly defended and Ballymena went into the break 3-0 ahead when Kirsten Young deflected the ball into the goal from a strong right wing run and cross circle ball from Aimee Logan.
At the restart Ballymena continued to dominate the play, forcing the CI keeper to make several good saves to deny Ballymena a fourth in the early stages, but eventually with Grace McCready and Emily Alexander attacking strongly Emily Anderson provided Kirsten Young with her second goal as she beat the keeper with a first time strike for 4-0.
In the last ten minutes, CI took advantage of a tiring home team and netted a consolation goal to make it 4-1 at the final whistle.
Team: J. Davis (GK), A. Crooks, C. Gillespie(C), G. McBurney, K. Young,
R. Reynolds, S. Morrison , E. Anderson, A. Logan, G. McCready,
E. Alexander, C. McCracken, E. Morrison.
Lurgan Ladies 2nd XI (2) v (0) Ballymena Ladies 1st XI
Saturday 18th February
Ballymena travelled to Junior 1 side Lurgan on Saturday for the 2nd round of the Qualifying Plate. Ballymena weathered the initial storm, which included a penalty corner to the home side, with good work from backs Greer and Harbinson. Attacks for the visitors were few as Lurgan pushed forward to deny Ballymena time on the ball, but as half time approached a lapse in concentration cost Ballymena, when Lurgan found the net twice inside 5 minutes to lead at the break 2-0!
Into the second half and Ballymena fought hard to get back on terms with Sye and Clarke in midfield working tirelessly to build momentum. Whyte and Logan up front were continually frustrated by the home defence, while Park, McClintock and Barr dealt with the quick counter attacks from Lurgan ably assisted by keeper Hanna to ensure there were no more goals conceded as Ballymena searched for a way back into the match.
Unfortunately the break through couldn’t be found and although it was a spirited second half from Ballymena the final result remained 2-0.
The 2nds will continue their league campaign next week at home to Victorians, as they battle to stay in Junior 2 this season.
Team: L. Hanna(GK), A. Harbinson, H. Dickey, N. Greer(C), E. Park, L. Logan, R. Whyte,
L. McClintock, E. Clarke, E. Johnston, N. Sye, R. Barr.
Knock Ladies 2nd XI (0) v (2) Ballymena Ladies 3rd XI
Friday 17th February
Junior League 5
Ballymena travelled to Strathearn College on Friday night aiming to take full points from a Knock side languishing at the bottom of Junior 5! Ballymena made the best of the opening exchanges and created a few early chances that were only just denied by the home defence.
Knock were fast on the break but a combination of poor control and good defending from Ballymena saw off the danger.
Ballymena’s midfield worked tirelessly and eventually this paid off when a pass into the circle found Gillian Mann who slotted the ball past the advancing keeper for the opening goal.
In the second half Knock pushed players up field to find the equaliser but Ballymena’s Rebecca Jones held firm in goals assisted by Nicola Sloane with a great goal line trap and clearance.
Nearing full time Ballymena sealed the victory with a strong midfield run and pass into Gillian Mann for her second goal of the match to win the game 2-0.
Campbellians Men’s 2nd XI (4) v (1) Ballymena Men’s 1st XI
Saturday 11th February
Junior League 4
Ballymena travelled to Belfast to face fellow promotion chasers Campbellians on Saturday. The league leaders started brightly scoring with the first attack of the game through Glenn Whitten's superb reverse stick shot. The East Belfast team regrouped and started to put the Ballymena defence under serious pressure. Some great 'keeping from Hampton kept the score at 1-0 until just before the break, however he could not doing anything about the equaliser when it came from a close range finish.
The second half started with more of the same pressure from Campbellians who quickly added a second goal to lead 2-1, while Lorimer's goal bound effort struck a foot which could have seen a penalty flick awarded, the Umpire disagreed. With Ballymena pushing for an equaliser Campbellian's sat deep and hit back on the break away and scored 2 more in the final 15 minutes to take the game 4-1.
So a disappointing defeat for Ballymena which allows their title rivals to close the gap to a single point at the top of the table. With another tough game against title rivals Portadown at home next week, the side must refocus on the task at hand knowing that nothing less than a win will suffice if they want to secure promotion.
Thanks to Davy Lorimer for travelling to umpire.